Sheriff William Hancock

1871
William Hancock was appointed as the first sheriff when the territorial county was created. He was a farmer, surveyor, lawyer, district attorney, probate judge and postmaster. He drew up the original plans for the city of Phoenix. He was the maker of the adobe bricks used to build the first house in the city of Phoenix.

Having been a member of the Seventh California Infantry in 1864, Hancock later mustered into Company C of the First Arizona Volunteers at Fort McDowell and became the superintendent of the government farm at McDowell.

Hancock’s house, an adobe structure, was the first permanent dwelling erected in Phoenix. Known as the “Father of Phoenix”, Hancock laid out the first Phoenix town site in 1870.

Hancock was appointed district attorney in 1871 and chosen as probate judge in 1875.

Upon the organization of Maricopa County, he was appointed the first sheriff.

As a promoter of an irrigation system for the Salt River Valley, Hancock surveyed the route of the Grand Canal, which is still in use today. He also surveyed the fraternal cemeteries of the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park.

He died 24 March 1902.